Sunday, April 17, 2011

How Simon had a Happy Birthday

We celebrated Simon's Birthday for about four days. In my opinion, he is completely entitled to a week-long festival, but four days was more manageable since it hasn't yet been declared a federal holiday.

Simon's Aunts, Unlces, and both sets of Grandparents joined us for "SimonFest" and he was more than adequately spoiled with presents and attention. To mark the occasion, he added a new phrase to his vocabulary; "CHECK IT OUT!!!" exclaimed whenever he was given something new and cool as a gift (or when he discovered something he liked on his own, which was then promptly purchased for him -- refer to the presence of two sets of grandparents).

Simon was treated to restaurants multiple times (one of his all-time favorite things to do -- though sadly, he did not manage to get a blond waitress, those are his favorite. Especially if they have sparkly earrings and swinging ponytails. He is such a flirt, especially when there is a pretty girl bringing him food!).

We visited some of Simon's favorite places. It rained a lot, but with every break in the clouds he was outdoors, either in our own backyard playground or at our neighborhood play space. We visited the Science Center, his favorite area attraction, and I followed him around the while he spent as much time as he wanted with the "alternate instruments;" a laser harp and percussive ball maze; the water play area, and the kids' boat and submarine stations. Simon was a blur of activity and frequently used both his arms and hands to assist with tasks -- almost without thinking. It was great to see (I even emailed a photo to his therapist to brag!).

I had been a little sad that I didn't know what toys he'd specifically want for his birthday -- so I had (what I think) was a pretty brilliant idea. I simply took him to the toy store and let him show me what he liked. It ruined the element of surprise, but that didn't matter -- he loved it. We heard exclamations of CHECK IT OUT!!!! many, many times. He tried out every single toy with buttons and/or wheels. He even test drove a mini Mini Cooper (I was tempted to get this for him, but we really don't have the space). In the end, we came home with a new train set that I added to his current train table (the reconfiguration took two adults about four hours to figure out); and a pretty groovy pirate ship water play table that I put out on our deck. Simon loves them both.

Finally, we had a little family party. I gratuitously over-decorated the dining room in a pirate theme (with eye patches instead of party hats), completed by the Grandparents' absolutely enormous bunch of balloons (including an giant pirate head). We had pizza, cake, ice cream and presents.

For me, the finale was watching Simon, for the very first time, blow out his own candles. He blew them out one at a time, to wild applause. With each of the five candles, I made a wish. For health...For continued progress: physical... cognitive... For happiness. And (most of all), for Simon to always be as loved as he is right now.

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